by Rachel Whalley Apr 6th, 2017
Petition starter Rachel is requesting that the sale of land at Greaves Street and Cross Street, OL5, which is currently used as a community orchard, is halted and that the land is withdrawn from the auction on April 25th.
“We have been dismayed to read that the land in which the orchard is situated is now scheduled for sale. A brief period of consultation has taken place, yet the land was listed on the very same day as the deadline for objections – suggesting that objections were not fully considered.
We request that the council reconsiders and remove the community orchard from the land being sold to preserve a much loved community asset. We will also begin the process of registering the orchard as a community asset.
As you may be aware, with the agreement of the Mossley Town Team, ward councillors and the participation of TMBC staff, Operation Farm has been working with a number of local organisations including Abundance Tameside, Digging Tameside, Mossley Makes, Incredible Edible Mossley and 1st Mossley Scouts as well as a great deal of local people, to establish a community orchard on this site.
Eight fruit trees were originally provided by TMBC with the proviso that Operation Farm maintain the site and develop it further. A grant from the District Assembly in 2015 through the Digging Tameside initiative funded nine mature fruit trees. These and hundreds of daffodils were planted last March by over 50 volunteers from Operation Farm, Abundance Tameside, Incredible Edible Mossley, Mossley Makes and 1st Mossley Scouts. Two weeks ago further funds (from Frank Travis) paid for 12 soft fruit bushes to create an edible hedge. 21 volunteers turned out on one of the most miserable days of the year to plant and weed. In addition Litter Bugs volunteers regularly litter pick the area and clean the rubbish tip at Cross St.
In 2015/16 a lease was being drawn up by TMBC led by Julie Stringer but her post has since been made redundant and the lease process seems to have stopped. However a clear maintenance and development plan is already in place for the orchard which will ensure that it continues to be a community asset promoting connection to nature, ownership and pride and ensuring local food security.
We also feel that as land on the main route into our town that the orchard, along with the flower bed that is maintained by 1st Mossley Scouts, provides a statement that we are an active community with pride in our green spaces.
We sincerely hope TMBC will reconsider this sale, in the meantime we are liaising with our community partners, ward councillors and members to consider what further action might be appropriate.”